Vocational Education and Training in France

The French VET system is a complex system that has set various avenues for learners eager to achieve qualification. Learners can achieve qualification before entering the labour market, concomitantly with a professional activity (e.g. continued or ongoing vocational training), and they can even acquire formal evidence of their qualification through legal provisions that allow for the recognition of prior learning. (Valorisation des acquis de l’expérience).

The VET system has thus taken into account the various situations a learner can be in when having to decide upon his or her vocational training. The French State has repeatedly set access to VET as a one of the top factors to attain optimized employment levels. As a result, a transparent "catalogue" of available qualifications has been built and regularly updated. What is common to the vast majority of qualifications one can achieve for vocational purposes is that they are all listed on the National Register of Vocational Certification (RNCP) and referenced to one of the five levels by which this Register is organized.

In recent years, EU policy has been emphasizing, for the sake of enhanced market conditions which require notably professional mobility, the need for increased transparency and comparability of learners’ and workers’ competences. For this reason, the EU has developed transparency tools that- among other things- ultimately ensure all member States address VET qualifications with a learning outcomes approach according to an 8-level qualification framework (EQF), through the development of quality assurance standards (EQARF, EQAVET) and through the development of a standardized way of publicizing learners’/workers’ competences(europass).

France, as regards its VET system, is engaged in a steady process of integration of these transparency tools via the diligent involvement of VET stakeholders who regularly test and pilot these transparency tools, often in the framework of European partnerships and study projects, in order to master these tools and to eventually enhance them. The French State itself has fully embarked on this European transparency journey by submitting its NQF referencing report [to the EQF] as early as October 2010.

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